General News of 2014-07-17

The talking is over; time for action - Mahama

The President, John Mahama, says the time for talking is over, as far as delivering on the promises made to Ghanaians is concerned, explaining that with the completion of a reshuffle of his ministerial team, action and delivery will now be the watch­words.

In an apparent charge to government ministers and appointees, the President said: “Let’s no longer talk about what we intend to do, just do it.”

President Mahama was speaking at a meet­ing with the National House of Chiefs at Kumasi in the Ashanti Region yesterday, the second of such meetings since assuming the Presidency.

Reiterating that 2014 was a turn-around year in which Ghanaians would begin to feel the effects of economic recovery, he said the unpleasant, but necessary measures the government took would yield positive dividends.

President Mahama explained that a spiraling wage bill, fiscal deficit reduction challenges, pres­sure on the local currency, energy challenges, unsustainable subsidies on petroleum products, and drastic reduction in the prices of the country’s export commodities meant that government had to implement unpleasant measures to increase revenue and reduce expenditure.

He said while the measures had been a bitter pill, the alternative of doing nothing would have caused an economic meltdown and resulted in an even more suffering for the people.

President Mahama intimated that the country’s development partners had not been as responsive to the government’s homegrown fiscal stabilization policy as he would have hoped.

Nonetheless, he said as head of the strategic advisory team on the Senchi Report, concrete plans and strategies had been drawn to guide the implementation of the report to keep Ghana on a path of growth and prosperity.

“I would urge all our chiefs and indeed, all Ghanaians to unite, with consensus behind the government as we implement lasting solutions to our current economic challenges,” Mr.

Mahama said, stressing that the nation could recover more quickly if Ghanaians believed in them­selves and in the capabilities of each other.

“It’s no use sitting on the sidelines and criticising incessantly; let’s all get to work,” he stated, noting that many nations across the world had been going through economic crisis but man­aged to overcome the challenges with a unity of purpose.

Turning his attention on chieftaincy matters, President Mahama condemned the recent murder of the Bimbilla Naa, saying that government was taking all the necessary steps to punish the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

In as much as government would not inter­fere in chieftaincy matters, President Mahama said, “We are a country of the rule of law, and we cannot allow a few murderous individuals or small groups to plot and create so much hurt, pain and insecurity in our communities."

He welcomed steps taken by the National House of Chiefs to minimise chieftaincy disputes in the country by undertaking research into lines of succession to stools and skins.

He said it was commendable that the House had reduced the outcome of the research into Legislative Instruments, 11 of which had been passed by Parliament, and 15 more ready to be submitted for passage into law.

To ensure that legal cases were dealt with expeditiously, President Mahama said the government was ensuring that every regional house of chiefs had qualified lawyers on their staff.

Additionally, he said government would ur­gently amend the constitutional provisions to pave the way for paramount queen mothers and their equivalents into the membership of the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs.

Consequent to that, he said government would support the rehabilitation and expansion works of the national and regional houses to accommodate the paramount queen mothers and their equivalents to the houses.

In fulfillment of a promise he made last year, President Mahama presented 13 four-wheel drive pick-up vehicles, one to each regional house of chiefs, one for the National House of Chiefs and two for the Chieftaincy Secretariat in Accra.

This brings to 23, the total number of vehicles President Mahama has given to the chiefs, in a bid to strengthen the support base of the institution of chieftaincy in the country.

“At your request and still in recognition of the valuable and prestigious role of our chieftaincy institutions, government has ensured that there are now 15 chieftaincy research officers across the country, the highest so far, dedicated to the service of chieftaincy in our nation,” he said.

President Mahama lauded the House for undertaking a research in conjunction with the sector ministry to eliminate harmful customary practices across the country; particularly working speedily to end the practice of ostracising alleged witches to witch camps in the Northern Region.

On his part, Dr. Henry Seidu Daana, Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, pledged to promote a two-way communication between the government and traditional authorities, as part of efforts to reposition chieftaincy in national development.

Naa Professor John Nabila, president of the National House of Chiefs, bemoaned that budgetary allocation for the chieftaincy institution, stating that it was inadequate and urged the government to commit more resources in the budget to enable chiefs to meet their obligations.

He urged that disputes should be re­solved using the appropriate legal channels rather than resorting to violence and conflict.

Expressing appreciation to the government for donating vehicles to support the work of chiefs, Prof. Nabila dismissed criticisms by sections of the public who mis­construe such gestures to mean political favours, pointing out that supporting the institution of chieftaincy was a constitutional provision.

On the current challenges to the economy, he maintained that it was not be­yond the country to fix them, urging all and sundry to put their shoulders to the wheel.

Source: myjoyonline
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